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Corona FAQ for GSNS PhD students

For the latest announcements and guidelines released by AU, please see the regularly updated webpage Corona information from Aarhus University.

FAQ for PhD students

The FAQ is updated on 6 May 2022.


PhD enrolment and employment

Documentation in MyPhD

The Graduate School strongly recommends stating in MyPhD if there are any concerns that the PhD study will be affected by the Covid-19 situation, and that an extension due to Covid-19 might become necessary.

Can I get an extension of my PhD project?

AU has decided on a joint procedure for handling the challenges you as a PhD student are facing in relation to completing your PhD project as a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the physical lockdown of AU.

The joint procedure is based on the political agreements on the phased reopening of the country, in addition to the Circular on the agreement on the possibility of extending temporary employment contracts, as a consequence of delays occurring in connection with COVID-19 (in Danish)

The objective of the procedure is to ensure a common point of departure for all PhD students at AU, while at the same time granting the individual graduate school the flexibility to handle the challenges in individual students’ PhD projects in the most appropriate way.

Your application for extension will be processed on the basis of an individual, specific assessment. The assessment will be carried out by the graduate school management at your graduate school on the basis of the school's guidelines. The graduate school management will make the final decision in the case. 

The joint procedure applies to PhD students whose progress has been directly affected by COVID-19:

  • AU must ensure that enrolled PhD students are able to finish their PhDs, and that the quality of the PhD project lives up to applicable academic requirements for a PhD. 
  • A delay in progress towards the PhD degree must be a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the periods of physical lockdown of AU. 
  • All PhD projects that are or may be delayed because of the COVID-19-situation must be considered individually and through individual dialogue with the principal supervisor. The Graduate School also recommends discussing it with the Head of programme. The PhD student writes the application for extension and both supervisor and Head of programme must make a statement. 
  • In the evaluation of the extension, every effort must be made to adjust the individual PhD project so as to allow the PhD student to complete their project as planned. 
  • If the PhD project cannot be completed without an extension of the deadline, the amount of additional time to be granted must be calculated on an individual basis. 
  • The nature of the delay in the PhD project must be described in the application for extension.

On what grounds can I apply for an extension of my PhD project?

You can apply for an extension if your PhD project has been delayed as a direct consequence of COVID-19, including the periods when AU’s campuses have been shut down.  

When can I apply for an extension of my PhD project?

It is possible to apply for an extension throughout the PhD study if the study has been affected by the Covid-19 situation. However, the Graduate School recommends waiting to apply until the last year of the PhD study where the exact extent of the Covid-19 delay will be easier to assess.

Can I apply for an extension more than one time?

It is possible to apply for an extension of your PhD project more than one time if the situation on the background of which you applied last time has changed.    

Can I apply for an extension without having funding for the extension?

Funding is not a prerequisite for applying for an extension. Your application will be assessed on an individual basis, and the head of the graduate school will make a decision in the case.   

How can I apply for an extension of my PhD project?

If an extension is deemed necessary, please follow the normal procedures described in section 7.3 of our Rules and Regulations with the “COVID19 exception”, that fellowships can also be extended; not just the study time. All applications will be individually assessed.  

I’m sick, possibly with COVID-19. What should I do, and is it ground for an extension?

As usual, you should notify your manager of illness and absence in accordance with your department’s guidelines. You are not obliged to provide information about the nature of your illness, but in this special situation, you are encouraged to inform your manager if your illness is likely to be a result of coronavirus.

Note that as Covid-19 is no longer categorised as a disease that is a critical threat to society, special rules no longer apply in that regard, and you will only be granted an extension if you are sick continuously for more than 30 days.

If you are sick, please follow the general guidelines and preventive measures outlined by AU.


Research Environment Change

Exemption from Research environment change

If you have been unable to fulfil the requirements concerning a research environment change due to Covid-19, you can apply for an exemption from these requirements on those grounds. See also chapters 6.1.5 and 6.1.5.1 in the GSNS Rules and Regulations. The application for exemption from research environment change due to Covid-19 should be clearly marked as such.

Should I come home from my stay abroad?

That is up to you, but we encourage you to carefully consider your situation. Please also consult your main supervisor.

Please stay informed at AU’s corona website and via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad.

I am travelling to Denmark soon. Can I get an official document confirming my enrolment/employment to present to the customs officer, if needed?

Yes, please ask your PhD partner to send you an enrolment/employment confirmation letter.

Can I go abroad for my research environment change?

The Graduate School is following the current travel guidelines from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Please find more information regarding trips and stays abroad on the AU Corona-website and stay informed via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark’s guidelines for travelling abroad

 

The decision as to whether an employee may travel to an ‘orange’ country on business is up to the head of the department.

Special circumstances may apply for international PhD students travelling to or from Denmark. Please keep yourself updated on the International Academic Staff Service (IAS) website.

I have received a GSNS mobility grant, but my travel plans are affected. What should I do?

If you cut your stay short in order to return to Denmark, you are still eligible to receive the full amount of the grant despite the 90 day-requirement. The grant may be used to cover expenses in relation to cancelling or changing your travel plans.

If your stay is postponed, please send an e-mail to GSSTgrants@au.dk with the new dates for your stay abroad. You do not need to submit a new application.

If you cancel your stay abroad entirely, please let us know by sending an e-mail to GSSTgrants@au.dk. You are welcome to send another application later on, when you make new plans for your research environment change.

Click here to read more about the GSNS mobility grant.


PhD Courses

Transferable skills courses

As all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted as of 1 February 2022, the Graduate School's transferable skills courses will as a general rule again be held physically, unless originally organised as online or hybrid classes.

As before, course participants will be notified by the Graduate School course administration if there are any changes to the courses.  

Exemption from ECTS requirements

If you have been unable to fulfil the ECTS requirements due to Covid-19, you can apply for an exemption from these requirements on those grounds. See also chapters 6.1.4 and 6.1.4.1 in the GSNS Rules and Regulations. The application for exemption from the ECTS requirements due to Covid-19 should be clearly marked as such.


PhD defences

My PhD defence is coming up. What are my options?

The PhD defence

As of 1 February 2022, all Covid-19 related restrictions are lifted. Thus, PhD defences will as a rule again be held physically and with an audience. However, if you have already scheduled a PhD defence online or as a hybrid solution this can take place as planned. If necessary, for instance because external assessment committee members will be subject to travel restrictions, a hybrid solution will also be possible in the future.

If for reasons above, your PhD defence will be held online or as a hybrid solution, we recommend that you use Zoom. If you are more comfortable using one of the other AU-supported platforms, you are of course welcome to do so.  

If you have any questions regarding functionality and setup of the system, please contact your local IT-support for technical support.

Receptions

As all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, social events, including receptions, may now be held.

General university guidelines

For more information please see the Covid-19 guidelines


PhD defences must be publicly available

This means that for PhD defences held only online or as a hybrid solution, interested parties should upon request be able to get a link to access the defence. Therefore, please submit to your PhD partner a name and e-mail address for the person in charge of distributing the link. This information will be added to the online announcement of the defence.

The contact person can be the supervisor, the chair of the assessment committee, or the programme secretary, and he/she may also instruct audience members in proper online etiquette (e.g. muting microphones and turning off cameras). If no such arrangement can be made, please contact your PhD partner to find an alternative solution.

How do I conduct my PhD defence digitally/online?

First of all, make sure to update your PhD partner about your plans for conducting your defence.

We recommend that you use one of these four digital platforms:

Please read the guides carefully. Aarhus University has licenses for all platforms and can provide IT-support, if needed.

The platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. We recommend that you use the platform, with which you are most comfortable. All four platforms support the following functionalities:

  • Recording
  • Screen sharing
  • Notes, chat and whiteboard
  • Video conference

(With Adobe Connect and Zoom you can also make breakout sessions within a meeting.)

If you have any questions regarding functionality and setup of the system, please contact your local IT-support.

Please find more info under "My PhD defence is coming up. What are my options".

 


Qualifying exam

My qualifying exam is coming up. What are my options?

The qualifying exam

As of 1 February 2022, all Covid-19 related restrictions are lifted. Thus, qualifying exams will as a rule again be held physically and with an audience. However, if you have already scheduled a qualifying exam online or as a hybrid solution this can take place as planned. If necessary, for instance because the external examiner will be subject to travel restrictions, a hybrid solution will also be possible in the future.

If for reasons above, your qualifying exam will be held online or as a hybrid solution, we recommend that you use Zoom. If you are more comfortable using one of the other AU-supported platforms, you are of course welcome to do so.  

If you have any questions regarding functionality and setup of the system, please contact your local IT-support for technical support.

Receptions

As all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, social events, including receptions, may now be held.

General university guidelines

For more information please see the Covid-19 guidelines


Digital solutions
We recommend that you use one of these four digital platforms:

Please read the guides carefully. Aarhus University has licenses for all platforms and can provide IT-support, if needed.

The platforms have different strengths and weaknesses. We recommend that you use the platform, with which you are most comfortable. All four platforms support the following functionalities:

  • Recording
  • Screen sharing
  • Notes, chat and whiteboard
  • Video conference

(With Adobe Connect and Zoom you can also make breakout sessions within a meeting.)

If you have any questions regarding functionality and setup of the system, please contact your local IT-support.

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